A number of actors who’ve starred in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films have joined forces with several Tolkien experts in an effort to purchase the Oxford house that J.R.R. Tolkien and his family lived for almost 20 years, intending to turn it into a center celebrating the famed fantasy author’s works.
Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the films, along with Martin Freeman (Bilbo), and John Rhys-Davis (Gimli) are giving their support to Project Northmoor, a fundraiser which aims to turn Tolkien’s former home into the first center in the world dedicated to Middle-Earth’s creator. Tolkien and his family lived in the house from 1930 to 1947 and the author wrote the first draft of The Hobbit during this period as a bedtime story for his children. He still lived at the house as he began to expand the story with subsequent installments that would become The Lord of the Rings.
In a press release, Rhys-Davis said: “Unbelievably, considering his importance, there is no center devoted to Tolkien anywhere in the world. The vision is to make Tolkien’s house into a literary hub that will inspire new generations of writers, artists and filmmakers for many years to come.”
Julia Golding, the British author spearheading the project told The New York Times: “There are centers for Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy, and, arguably, Tolkien is just as influential as they are. If every Tolkien fan gave us $2, we could do this,” she added.
The fundraiser will run until March 15 of next year and needs to raise £4.5 million in order to purchase the house and begin renovating it into a center for Tolkien. The site states that, once the house is purchased, it will be “restored to a beauty of which the inventor of Sam Gamgee would be proud.”
A video urging the public for support has been published and includes the likes of Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, as well as other famous faces such as Sir Derek Jacobi.
This is the first time in years the Tolkien house has been on the market, meaning this may be the project’s only chance to turn the family home into a place dedicated to the works and memory of its former owner. Given the popularity of Tolkien, it seems likely that many fans will be eager to see the project succeed.
If you’re interested in donating, you can do so HERE. There are even rewards for donating certain amounts, including getting your name in the Red Book of Funders that will sit in Tolkien’s study.